Western United Head Coach John Aloisi has admitted it’s an exciting time at the Club as the side secured its place in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men finals.
Two wins from two during the Macca’s Festival of Football in Tasmania clinched United’s spot in the top six, making it two trips to the finals in the Club’s first three season’s in the competition.
Aloisi said he and the entire Club are looking forward to playing finals football, but stressed that there is plenty of work still to be done.
“It’s exciting to be where we are, that’s for sure. We’re definitely going to finish top three now with the amount of points we have, and yeah we’re only two points behind (Melbourne) City with a game in hand,” he said.
“Obviously the next game is the most important. That’s the Mariners away in 10 days’ time, so it gives us a bit of a break mentally and physically to prepare for that game.”
Western United has continued fly under the radar throughout the season and has remained in the hunt at the top of the table all season, defying many of the expectations around the league.
But Aloisi said he is not surprised by how well his players have performed throughout the campaign and that this was the goal all along since pre-season.
“At the beginning of pre-season we said we wanted to be very competitive, we want to be there fighting for something at the end of the season,” he said.
“We’ve given ourselves an opportunity now with one week to go and three games to play in that week. We know it’s not going to be easy because no game is easy and City still have two games remaining.”
John Aloisi hoping to see Western United peaking at the right time
A 4-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix at the beginning of April might have been damaging to another group, but Aloisi admitted it might have been a loss the team needed as a wake-up call to keep the standards high heading into the post-season.
“You don’t want to be going into the finals where you’re just scraping through and just getting there. We want to go there in good form, so we needed that poor-ish performance to go you know what, ‘we need to make sure we’re focused each game, prepared well the whole week’,” he said.
“That’s why it was so pleasing in the last two games. We’re happy, we know we’re going to go into that final week in good form and feeling good about the way we’re performing.”
Despite coming on to the end of the season, Aloisi believes that United’s development is far from over.
“We always want to get better – we’re far from a finished product. Some players have had to chop and change. We know we’ll get better and we always want to improve,” he said.
United next takes on Central Coast Mariners on April 30 to kick off a huge final week of the season, with the Green and Black then facing Newcastle Jets on May 4 and Adelaide United on May 8 to decide the final standings for the season.